Beckham poised to begin talks on new deal at Real

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The Independent Online

David Beckham will not leave Real Madrid during the current transfer window and is about to reopen talks over a new deal at the Bernabeu, according to the former England captain's spokesman.

Speculation has been rife that the 31-year-old would leave this month after finding first-team opportunities hard to come by this season. But the player's spokesman, Simon Oliveira, said discussions on a two-year extension to his current deal, which expires in June, would open next week.

"There is a significant deal on the table from Real," he said. "It's slightly more than he's on at the moment. They are the only club we are genuinely talking to at the moment and another meeting is scheduled for the second week of January."

Oliveira denied that off-field considerations could also play a role in determining Beckham's next move. Under the terms of his contract, Real own 50 per cent of Beckham's image rights, but Oliveira said: "The primary reason for any decision David makes will be a footballing one."

Beckham's former team-mate, the Sunderland manager Roy Keane, has another ex-United luminary, Dwight Yorke, to thank for convincing his international team-mate Carlos Edwards to go to Wearside. The Trinidad & Tobago winger completed a £1.5m move to Sunderland from Luton on Tuesday after Yorke helped to sell the club to him.

"Dwight had a huge part to play," he said. "I did not need much persuasion to come, but I spoke to Dwight - as you know, he's so laid back he can sleep on water! He told me he's been at other clubs like Manchester United and Aston Villa, and he has never seen the facilities he has at Sunderland."

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